Posted on The New Republic this morning:
We are saddened to report that Stanley Kauffmann, our film critic of more than five decades, died early this morning at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York at age 97. We will be adding to this tribute throughout the day.
The link above contains tributes by James Wolcott, David Denby, and David Thomson (with more to come).
I’ve read a fair bit of Kauffmann over the years, and whenever I pick one of his collections off the shelf I’m amazed at the elegance and directness of his prose; his judgements read so sound, even when they are miles away from my own (which I don’t think they were all that often, truthfully, though given my slavish devotion to early seventies movies above all else, our overall sensibilities are probably a bit out of sorts). I’ve always thought of Kauffmann as an interesting figure, as well, in that he was instrumental to the rise of American movie criticism in the ’60s, yet he is barely, if at all, associated with any of the internecine battles which took place at the time, or for years afterwards (I don’t recall him ever even responding to the Kael-Sarris auteur wars, for instance). If this helped ensure he would not have the instant name recognition of a few others from the period, it din’t in any way deter him from continuing to do great work, for years, “unclouded,” as Wolcott put it.